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NextEra Energy Partners amends IDR structure, boosts dividend rate

NextEra Energy Partners has reached an agreement with its sponsor, NextEra Energy Inc., to amend the structure of the partnership's incentive distribution rights, or IDR.

The modification aims to "provide more cash available to limited partner unitholders, require fewer asset additions to achieve growth objectives, extend NextEra Energy Partners' distribution growth runway and require the partnership to issue less equity," the partnership said in a Jan. 27 release.

NextEra Energy Partners declared a 15% increase to its annual distribution rate to $1.41 per share from the comparable annualized rate in 2015. The partnership will pay a quarterly distribution of 35.25 cents per share on Feb. 14 to shareholders of record Feb. 7.

The annual IDR fees based on the recently declared dividend are approximately $56 million per year. Going forward, any excessive amount to the current annual distribution rate will be shared 75% to shareholders and 25% to IDR fees.

Anticipating a continued growth in its portfolio, NextEra Energy Partners extended its financial expectations for another two years. It expects a growth of 12% to 15% in its distributions through at least 2022. The partnership expects the fourth-quarter 2017 annualized distribution rate to be in the range of $1.58 per share to $1.62 per share.

On the earnings front, NextEra Energy Partners posted fourth-quarter 2016 adjusted EBITDA of $168 million and cash available for distribution of $68 million. Net income attributed to the partnership was up $45 million year over year to $50 million for the most recent quarter, as operating revenues increased to $176 million from $146 million.

For full-year 2016, the partnership recorded adjusted EBITDA of $639 million and cash available for distribution of $222 million. Net income attributable to NextEra Energy Partners was $90 million on operating revenues of $715 million.

The yieldco affirmed its targeted adjusted EBITDA of $670 million to $760 million and cash available for distribution of $230 million to $290 million for 2017, based on its portfolio as of Dec. 31, 2016. For 2018, the partnership expects adjusted EBITDA in the range of $875 million to $975 million and cash available for distribution of $310 million to $340 million based on a forecast portfolio at year-end 2017.